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Are You A Periphery Dweller?

There's a lot of focus today on life coaching, reaching "peak performance" and being "in the flow." These are all fantastic approaches for folks who are already "IN LIFE."

But what about "Periphery Dwellers?" What is a Periphery Dweller? Any individual who is not in the day-to-day game of life, a spectator -- so-to-speak.

And the longer you remain on the periphery the more wedded to it you become. It makes you feel unique, apart from, as though you were in a world all your own.

Many who dwell out there on the periphery are aware of it. Some are not. Several find it gives them an edge. Others feel a sense of protection out there on the periphery. Occasionally it can lead folks to feel aloof or eccentric.

Periphery Dwellers don't quite feel they fit in, even in the midst of a crowd. At times they are aware of this, even wanting it to be different. Being on the periphery brings it's own tormenting anxiety for many. It's like a Catch-22, you don't want to be out there isolated and disconnected, yet the terror of engaging, even knowing how to and who to engage with, is a daunting task.

How did you get out there on the periphery of life to begin with? Maybe you were overly chastised by authorities when you were young, physically abused, maybe you look different than the average person, maybe you struggle with depression or anxiety or maybe you simply have a sense of feeling different, misunderstood.

What should a Periphery Dweller change in order to join the game of life? How do you go about it? Let's keep it simple. Firstly, if you're a Periphery Dweller, or know someone who is, you are having an odd feeling right now. You've spent most of your life either feeling invisible or naked in front of the world.

If you're reading this, you're being SEEN. I know you're out there. So, for those of you who've felt invisible, you're not. Honestly, look around you. There are Periphery Dwellers everywhere. Really, you are not alone. Along with that realization, I extend a warm hand of greeting to you, and more importantly, acceptance!

For those of you who've felt naked throughout life, allow this article to clothe you in the protective security of welcoming fellowship... that thing you've wished for and guarded against.

It's important for you to counter the notion of "it's a dangerous and unsafe world," with the fact that there are hordes of loving, trustworthy people and organizations available to you right now.

You will always find what you are looking for. If you're convinced the world is an unsafe place, guess what your mind, eyes, ears and heart will pick up on? That's right, everything that's wrong with the world. And this will only serve to convince you to remain in that lonely place out on the periphery of living.

I invite you to step over... into life. I challenge you to notice what's right in our world. Be aware of those people, places and institutions (yes, even institutions!) who practice love and acceptance. They are as much a reality as the one you've been living. And, of course, I respect your pace. Take your time. Move along as you feel it's safe to. Take small risks at first, then bigger ones, and soon you'll realize that you were right about the world, and that you were also wrong and that the risks were worth taking.

Life is waiting!





Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

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"What should  people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.."

 ~ Kurt Vonnegut


Ask Dave!


Hello Dave,

I have suffered from depression for many many years, but just in the past year have been diagnosed.  I have tried four types of meds and am on 40mg of Paxil a day, and have seen a psychologist 8 times with no big results.
The meds work but I still don't know why I became depressed.  I have low self esteem.   Could this be the force behind my depression?


Hi Nancy,

Just like you, I always seek understanding.  For many of us who've struggled with some tragedy like depression, we want to know why.

Here's the danger though... insight without action increases misery.  In other words, having an understanding of why you suffer, does not, in-and-of itself, provide relief. 

If it's really important for you to deepen your understanding, seek out a psychotherapist who's both trained in psychodynamic theory, as well cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Psychodynamic theory studies why and where folks become stuck in life.  Cognitive-behavioral approaches will target the here-and-now of your thought patterns and the behaviors that support depression, working to eliminate and replace each. 

Dave Turo-Shields 


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